February 16th, 2018


Click on the photo above to watch our discussion with the media this week about our huge step forward (13 steps, actually) with Wisconsin's foster care system.  More than 7,400 Wisconsin children were in out-of-home care during 2016, which is 20 percent more children than in the previous year.  (That increase is being driven primarily by the opioid abuse epidemic in our state and across the whole country.)  We have already taken, and will keep taking, many steps to work on the opioid crisis also; in the meantime, I authored one of the 13 bipartisan ideas that emerged from the Speaker's Task Force on Foster Care over the past year.  I'm proud to report that all 13 of these proposals advanced with overwhelming support in the Assembly this week and now await action in the State Senate.


As always, I encourage you to follow my updates on social media or contact my office directly with your questions.  Best wishes on your weekend!


Encouraging Dignity and Independence


For many years already, Wisconsin has been a national model for successful public benefit reform.  In a special session of the legislature this week, I voted to advance 10 new ideas that promote responsibility and accountability while still delivering assistance to those who genuinely need it.  (Click here to read my full statement on this important set of reforms.)  A few highlights include:


  • Limits on household assets.  If you own a home worth more than 200% of the statewide median-value home (that is, worth more than $321,000 or so), you will no longer be eligible for FoodShare, Wisconsin Shares and Wisconsin Works benefits.  This closes a loophole that isn't fair to the many Wisconsinites who genuinely need help.


  • Child support and paternity compliance requirement for Medicaid.  Children should not be left unsupported while public benefits are provided to able-bodied parents.  A key provision protects Medicaid-dependent children by ensuring that they remain eligible for services even if a parent becomes ineligible.


  • Adding photographs to FoodShare benefit cards.  It is estimated that Wisconsin taxpayers are robbed of at least $11 million annually in FoodShare recipient fraud.


Previous public welfare reforms have paid big dividends for Wisconsin's citizens and taxpayers.  Just since April 2015, when our FoodShare Employment and Training program work requirement took effect, more than 25,000 people in our state have found work--and the dignity that comes with independence.  Think about it; that's like adding an entire city to our state's economy!  Our bold reforms pay off for the people of Wisconsin.


Fun, Fun for Everyone!


If you're like me, then maybe you're reaching that point near the end of winter where you've really gotta get out of the house.  Travelwisconsin.com, Wisconsin's official Department of Tourism website, is updated all the time with fresh ideas; if you haven't visited the site lately, you're missing out!


Front and center today is an article entitled "Five Snow Tubing Hills Perfect for the Whole Family."  Next to that is the statewide snow report that includes current updates on snowmobiling conditions and ski trails.  Keep scrolling down and you'll find "Best Indoor Waterparks Around Wisconsin."  At the top of the page, check out the Trip Ideas tab for "Spring Getaways," "Hidden Gems," "Family Getaways," "Frank Lloyd Wright" and many others.  Or, if all of this just sounds exhausting, try the Dining tab for "Five Spots to Warm Up With Wisconsin Mac and Cheese" or maybe "Wisconsin's Most Creative, Colossal Bloody Marys."


I think my favorite part of the site is the Planning Tools tab.  Look for the "Order Guides" feature; I actually like ordering (at no charge!) the paper copies of these to keep in the car, but maybe you'll like the electronic versions better.  There's also a "Packages and Deals" section, a "Pet-Friendly Directory," a "Travel Green Wisconsin" section, and so much more!




If you wish to be excluded from future mailings, simply e-mail me and ask to unsubscribe.

Room 208 North, State Capitol ● PO Box 8952 ● Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-0656  ●  Rep.Katsma@legis.wisconsin.gov  ●  www.repkatsma.com